Free Study Guide for The Contender by Robert Lipsyte Free BookNotes|
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THE CONTENDER - FREE BOOK NOTES SUMMARY
CHAPTERS 2 - 3
Even though Alfred was orphaned at a young age, he is loved. Aunt Pearl cares for him and worries over the fact that he keeps things to himself. She also respects his independence. When she questions him about what happened to him the previous evening, she listens to his explanation about falling off a fence. Although she realizes that her nephew is not telling her the truth, she knows it is for a reason and does not press him.
Alfred is a thinker. As he lies in bed recovering from his beating, he worries about James in jail and the Epsteins questioning him about his friend. He also thinks about Henry inviting him to the gym, but he is not sure whether he should go. When he goes out for a walk, he heads toward the gym, but hesitates about entering. He decides to go up only when he sees Major across the street. His enemy is, therefore, responsible for altering Alfred’s life, for the gym will change him.
By entering the gym and making the decision to undergo training to become a boxer, Alfred takes his first step towards establishing his identity in his world. He symbolically climbs the long steps up to the gym, where Donatelli explains the difficulties and discipline of boxing. By accepting the challenge to train at the gym, Alfred will emerge from the shadow of the past and walk towards his future; the process will transform him from a child to an adult.
Donatelli, who will become an important character in the novel, is presented in this chapter. He shows himself to be a tough trainer, an experienced man of the world, and a frank, honest, and practical human being. When Alfred expresses his desire to become a boxer, Donatelli is cautious enough to carefully check the boy’s physical condition and realistic enough to warn him about the hard work involved in boxing.
He also does not immediately accept Alfred as his student; instead, he
sends him away to think about the challenge of the game.
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. 09 May 2017